Work Ahead Before Bernhardt Chases Gridiron Dream

Jared Bernhardt continued the family tradition when he came to Maryland to play lacrosse, following older brothers Jake and Jesse. The story almost wrote itself, especially when Bernhardt helped the Terrapins win a national title as a freshman and then…

Work Ahead Before Bernhardt Chases Gridiron Dream

Jared Bernhardt continued the family tradition when he came to Maryland to play lacrosse, following older brothers Jake and Jesse. The story almost wrote itself, especially when Bernhardt helped the Terrapins win a national title as a freshman and then…

Embrace Your Body

Image: Photographer Name: PHOTO BY IAN JOHNSTONArticle Summary Title: Embrace Your BodyPath: https://www.uslaxmagazine.com/pro/wpll/taylor-cummings-with-powerful-message-on-body-image

Not Just Another Bronze

This article originally appeared in the November print edition of US Lacrosse Magazine, available exclusively to members of US Lacrosse. Join US Lacrosse today and have the magazine delivered right to your mailbox while helping to support the development of the sport.

Gale Thorpe wasn’t surprised to see a voicemail notification from his father pop up on his phone one day this summer.

“My dad’s a big voicemail guy. He loves it,” Gale joked about father, Regy. “I don’t think I picked up, so of course I saw ‘Regy Thorpe voicemail,’ and I went and played it.”

But the younger Thorpe wasn’t expecting what he heard once he pressed play. His father, head coach of the U.S. indoor national team, was calling to tell him he’d made the 23-man roster for the upcoming World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in Langley, B.C.

Regy Thorpe started with his typical coach speak, but couldn’t hide his excitement for Gale, who’d grown up playing box lacrosse on the Onondaga reservation and continued to play in Canada through the 2019 summer.

“He congratulated me, saying thank you and telling me I was making the team,” Gale Thorpe said. “Toward the end of the voicemail, he turned into a father, saying, ‘Hey son, I’m really proud of you. Congratulations.’ I got the coach’s voicemail, but it slowly turned into my dad talking there.”

Thorpe, 24, was one of the young stars at the world championship. He finished with 27 points, helping to fuel a U.S. team that had its best shot yet to play for the gold medal — a barrier yet to be reached by the program.

The U.S. had a strong veteran core that included Joel White, Brett Manney, Chris O’Dougherty, Greg Downing and Anthony Kelly. Twice in five days, the U.S. came tantalizingly close to knocking off the vaunted Iroquois Nationals, only to fall short. The Americans couldn’t hold on to a third-quarter lead in a defensive struggle against the Iroquois in the Sept. 26 semifinals at Langley Sports Centre in Langley, British Columbia, losing 9-7. Two days later, they held off a late surge by England to claim their fifth straight bronze medal with an 11-8 victory.

Canada, undefeated all-time in WILC competition, defeated the Iroquois 19-12 in the gold medal game.

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Category: 
USA Insider
Author: 
Matt Hamilton
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Now, the focus for the U.S. indoor program will shift to 2023. Some of that core will not return for another run at gold. Instead, the future responsibility will be shared by a crop of young talent displayed at this year’s world championship. Gale Thorpe is firmly in that category, with more box experience than most of his U.S. teammates, having played since he was 5.

“The future is bright for sure,” Manney said after the semifinal loss to the Iroquois. “We told those guys at the end of the game, they have to carry the torch.”

Gale Thorpe, a forward, had not earned recognition on an international scale until now. He was one of many U.S. players that impressed on the world stage, realizing the benefits of having more Americans playing in the National Lacrosse League.

And as much as the theme surrounding this team was the progress it made to close the gap between it and the top two teams in the world, almost as vital, and overlooked, is the youth movement. Among the U.S. indoor team’s top performers in Langley were Thorpe and recent college standouts like Matt Dunn, Connor Kelly, Matt Rambo, Blaze Riorden, Cody Radziewicz, Davey Emala and Adam Osika.

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“The future is bright for sure. We told those guys at the end of the game, they have to carry the torch.” — Brett Manney
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Kelly and Rambo joined the team in British Columbia less than 24 hours after winning the Premier Lacrosse League championship with Whipsnakes. Emala and Osika were added to the roster after injuries to Ethan O’Connor and Tom Schreiber, the latter of whom is considered the best America has to offer in the indoor game. Schreiber suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the PLL playoffs while playing for Archers.

Each of the new additions made a seamless transition into the fold. Ultimately, though, the result was the same as the previous four world championships for the Americans — a bronze medal, looking up at Canada and the Iroquois.

“We are what we are, and that’s bronze. We’re a third-place team,” Regy Thorpe said. “That’s not what we came for, but there’s some positive growth these past two-and-a-half years for U.S. indoor as a whole. The future is very bright. There’s just a great group of young prospects coming up.”

Regy Thorpe knows better than most just how far the U.S. has come. Although he never played box lacrosse growing up, he attended an NLL tryout coming out of college and became a fixture in the league with the Rochester Knighthawks.

Years later, Thorpe made the U.S. indoor team roster for the 2007 games in Nova Scotia. There, he gained perspective on the development system, or absence thereof, for box lacrosse talent in the U.S.

After Thorpe led the Knighthawks to the 2007 NLL championship, he took the next flight from Arizona to the eastern tip of Canada. That U.S. team entered the world championship with one training camp under its belt. It lacked chemistry, and the talent pool was small compared to Canada and the Iroquois. In two games against their North American rivals, the Americans lost by a combined 23 goals.

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Once Thorpe was hired as U.S. coach in 2017, he made it a mission to expand the talent pool, and to allow players the opportunity to train together more often. It started with the Heritage Cup that year, then a Blue-White Game at Baltimore’s Du Burns Arena in January 2018. In September of last year, the U.S. program visited Onondaga reservation for the Lacrosse All Stars North American Invitational. The next month, Thorpe and his team traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for another training and tryout weekend. Then this past May, the U.S. team returned to Du Burns Arena for another Blue-White Game.

“They were building chemistry,” Thorpe said, “but it also helped us identify who can fit our system”

Another goal for Thorpe was to get his players more professional experience. Mission accomplished. Every player on the U.S. team — outside of the retired Anthony Kelly — will be on an active NLL roster or invited to camp this fall.

That list includes Gale Thorpe, who was drafted in the second round of this year’s NLL Entry Draft, held on the same night as the U.S. team’s first practice in Langley. Regy Thorpe, head coach and general manager of the expansion New York Riptide, tabbed his son with the selection.

Gale Thorpe, who made it to the President’s Cup this summer as part of the Akwesasne Bucks Senior B team, will now have a shot to groom his box lacrosse skills with the best in the game. So will a slew of other Americans.

The bronze-medal finish did not affect coaches’ or players’ confidence in the direction of the U.S. indoor program.

“Right now, it’s not enough to say we’re almost there,” White said. “I can’t say enough about this coaching staff, US Lacrosse and what they’re putting into the box lacrosse game.”

As much as the last four years were a showcase of steady growth for the American box lacrosse movement, the next four could prove to be the rapid rise — one that could lead to the gold-medal game and beyond.

Short Summary: 
The U.S., won bronze number five, but a bear-miss in Langley portends bright future for the U.S. program
Sub-Category: 
Photographer Main Image: 
PHOTO BY BOB FRID
Photographer Parallax: 
PHOTO BY BOB FRID
Photo Main Caption: 
The U.S. men’s team won the bronze medal for the fifth straight time at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship, but gave an effort that showed it’s closing the gap.
Photo Parallax Caption: 
Gale Thorpe was one of the bright young stars for the U.S. team at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship, finishing with 27 points.

This Feel Right: Chase Scanlan at Home at Syracuse

Chase Scanlan was in paradise, sightseeing with his Loyola teammates in Portugal, snorkeling, taking surf lessons and doing a few lacrosse clinics in between. It should have been one of those vacations he would remember fondly for the rest of his life….

Is This the Way to Introduce Lacrosse to the Rest of the World?

World Lacrosse’s new Olympic trial rules found support growing among U.S. and Canadian national team players and coaches after using them in a pair of exhibition games at the Fall Classic on Oct. 20.

Through its Blue Skies Working Group, World Lacrosse is trying to develop a new discipline of the sport that would broaden its international appeal and best position it to be included in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Their charge: Reduce the number of participants and corresponding team sizes to limit the impact adding lacrosse might have on the International Olympic Committee’s athlete cap, shrink the field dimensions and shorten the duration of games to fit within IOC formatting for spectators and television.

Other trials have been conducted or are planned in a number of other nations, including Australia, England, Germany Japan and Scotland, as well as the upcoming Pan American Lacrosse Association women’s qualifying event in Auburndale, Fla., Nov. 14-17.

Sixty-four nations currently have membership in World Lacrosse, whose goal is to reach 100 in the next five years as part of the Olympic vision. Lacrosse was a demonstration sport last in 1948 and hasn’t been contested as a medal sport since 1908.

“It’s cool that we’ve had the opportunity to be the guinea pigs and experiment with all the different ideas that World Lacrosse and US Lacrosse is coming out with,” said Alice Mercer, the U.S. women’s team defender. “It’s been a really cool experience. I’ve enjoyed it. I’m all for pushing the pace and making the game faster.”

The U.S. women defeated Canada 16-7 in the first game of the afternoon. On the men’s side, Canada topped the U.S. 23-18.

“I’m OK with these rules changes mainly because I’m a player that plays box and field,” said Graeme Hossack, the Canadian team member and reigning NLL Defensive Player of the Year. “To me, it’s more of a combination of the two, and it doesn’t affect me too much. It goes back and forth, you still get to play lacrosse — yes it’s a little unsettled, and it’s a quicker game. It’s exciting. There’s going to be lots of scoring with it, so it’s something people should be able to watch and get excited for.”

Exhibition games between the national teams from the U.S. and Canada highlighted the Fall Classic weekend at US Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, Md. They played Friday, Oct. 18, using World Lacrosse rules that govern world championship competition, before turning to the newly tweaked Olympic trial rules that Sunday.

“If we were to get picked for an Olympic team, obviously we’re going to accept any sort of rules, play our butts off, compete at whatever it is and have fun with it,” said Will Manny, an attackman for the U.S. team. “I thought it was a blast, but I just think they have to come up with a set of rules. I’ve done it twice, and each half or quarter has different rules. They have to stick to one thing and then play it, so we know what is going on.”

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Category: 
Fuel
Author: 
Justin Feil
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World Lacrosse, formerly the Federation of International Lacrosse, introduced initial versions of the new disciplines to member nations March 20 and have been evolving them based on feedback received. In addition to the six-on-six format, there’s a smaller field (70 meters by 36 meters), shorter games (four 8-minute periods of running clock), a 45-second shot clock, smaller roster sizes (10 per team), no backup rule for shots (possession changes based on team that touches the ball last) and draws only at the beginning of each period and overtime (with five seconds after each goal for the goalie to put the ball in play).

Current international rules do not include a shot clock, and the pace of play can be slow at times with lower scoring outcomes. The proposed Olympic rules would speed up the game and allow for higher scores after making significant changes ranging from field size and equipment to actual playing rules.

While World Lacrosse has emphasized that the existing men’s and women’s international disciplines of the sport would remain in place and core to its world championship program, some people have expressed their concern about the unintended consequences that could materialize in pursuit of Olympic inclusion.

“You look at this as a hybrid version between box and field,” said Joe Spallina, the U.S. women’s team assistant and head coach at Stony Brook. “People who are critical of this stuff need to look at it through a worldwide lens, rather than a United States or Canada lens, and consider what’s going to allow more countries to compete at this level.”

 

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“If we were to get picked for an Olympic team, obviously we’re going to accept any sort of rules, play our butts off, compete at whatever it is and have fun with it.” — Will Manny, U.S. attackman
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Judging from the Fall Classic exhibitions, the proposed format would seem to decrease the importance of positional specialists. In addition to returning the ball to play immediately after goals, there are no long poles and players who traditionally stick to just offense or defense must be adept on both ends of the field.

“From a stamina perspective, midfielders have an easier transition because they’re going from going 120 yards to 70 yards,” U.S. midfielder Marie McCool said. “I love watching the attackers out there. They crushed it this weekend. I have no doubt they can do it. They’re so athletic, and they’re great riders. Also the defenders, I joke around that some of them have the best shot. It always goes in, because they’re not trying to shoot it as hard as they can. They’re just trying to place it. … Although it’s a midfielder’s game, you definitely have to have the mindset of some attackers and defenders on the field to keep that balance.”

Of course, some of the sport’s most dynamic players currently operate almost strictly within the confines of the restraining box. They may not play as prominent a role in the new discipline.

“For guys who are world-caliber players that are defensemen, they might not get a shot to play in the Olympics,” Manny said. “A guy like [two-time U.S. team defenseman] Tucker Durkin would not be good in that kind of style, because you have to be able to play some offense, unless you’re subbing all the time. You take away the pole from him, and it’s a completely different game.”

Said U.S. men’s assistant Seth Tierney: “As much as I love Trevor Baptiste and all those faceoff guys, you’re only going to take four faceoffs, so you’re probably not bringing a faceoff guy to the Olympics if it gets through. It’s not going to sway the end result.”

After a goal, the goalie immediately takes the ball out of the goal and has five seconds in which to restart play. Sometimes the team can start a fast break quickly, but defenders are learning to get back quickly after a score.

“You’re always thinking next play,” Mercer said. “The goalie clears the ball right out of the cage, and you’re trying to proactively think, what are you going to do next? You don’t have that time to walk back to the circle and get ready for the draw. You don’t have that mental reset. You have to learn as the game’s going and take your mental reset as you’re playing, which favors the full athlete and that mindset.”

Another rule change rewards the ball to whichever team did not touch it last when it goes out of bounds, and even a missed shot can result in a turnover if the goalie does not touch it. It does not matter who is closest to the ball when it goes out of bounds.

“It forces you to get a good shot off,” McCool said. “It’s very similar to basketball in my opinion.”

There were no shot clock violations in either Fall Classic exhibition played under the Olympic trial rules. Forty-five seconds proved to be more than enough, and perhaps too much, time to get a shot off.

“The shot clock could have been even lower,” U.S. attackman Marcus Holman said. “It could have been 30 seconds. I just like that sense where it’s non-stop action. It’s not like current international rules, where there’s no shot clock and you have no clearing time. It forces things to happen, and it forces you to take chances, maybe to make a pass you wouldn’t make or try a shot that you wouldn’t normally try.”

One of the more controversial changes does not allow collisions in the men’s game. The exhibition abided by that rule.

“It would have been a little more physical if there was something on the line,” Holman said.

Said Hossack: “They were aiming to prevent injuries, but I thought the ball moves quickly enough that there won’t be much contact. I don’t think they really needed to take it out.”

On the women’s side, the Olympic trial rules have evolved the concept of shooting space and placed the responsibility for safety on the shooter.

“We want to have the opportunity to play a more free-flowing style of lacrosse,” said Dana Dobbie, an athlete representative on the Blue Skies Working Group. “That’s what I was most excited about seeing, taking away shooting space, taking away three seconds, and allowing the female athletes to be as creative as possible and use their creativity and stickwork in a way we haven’t been able to do yet.”

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The players are starting to adjust to the rules with more experience. The U.S. women played a WPLL all-star team last November using short-sided rules and have used them in intra-squad scrimmages.

For U.S. attacker Kayla Treanor, who said she used to enjoy getting stuck on defense off the draw or in transition when she played at Syracuse, the proposed rules represent a welcome change of pace.

“It’s very high-tempo,” she said. “You’re up and down. It’s just a couple shifts and you’re off. I would kind of compare it to hockey where you don’t play until you’re tired; you just play short shifts so you can get off and get back on. It was a lot fun. We’ve done it a couple times, so we’re getting used to it.”

Players said the games have looked better each time that they played. In the first half of each Fall Classic game, the teams played six-on-six, with all five field players from both teams going to the offensive and defensive ends. In the second half, the teams played seven-on-seven, including five-on-five on one end and a field player from each team remaining on the other.

“I really liked both [formats],” Treanor said. “A lot of people liked the second one better because it felt, I think, a little more like normal with someone holding. The first one looked a lot like hockey to me, or box. I liked it. I enjoyed playing it. It’s good for the game, and it’s good for the future of lacrosse.”

Proponents are optimistic that the new rules will help spread the game of lacrosse worldwide and push it to the ultimate goal of Olympic inclusion in 2028. It’s still taking some getting used to.

“I’m a traditionalist by nature, but if this is the only way to introduce lacrosse to the rest of the world, then this is the way that we should introduce lacrosse to the rest of the world,” said Tierney, also the head coach at Hofstra. “We’re going to hold onto our field game and what we love, and maybe one day this was the stepping stone to the Olympics for field lacrosse. At this point in time, this is the path that it has to go.”

Added Treanor: “I don’t know if that’s what I would want the exact final product to be. I think I’m in a different situation, too, because I’ll probably never be playing in the Olympics because I’ll be too old. This is the start. We have to start somewhere to get it there. It’s definitely not the same game. I’m not sure they’ve figured it out completely. Every time we do it, it gets a little better.”

Figuring out a set of rules that will work to broaden the appeal of lacrosse while preserving the integrity of the traditional men’s and women’s field disciplines has been a challenge. World Lacrosse and the Blue Skies Working Group will continue to absorb feedback after each trial that presents the discipline in live action.

“We’re trying to keep the aspects of the men’s that are unique to them, and the aspects of the women’s that are unique to us so you can see the difference between the two,” Dobbie said. “But at the same time, someone who’s never seen lacrosse and is watching an Olympic men’s game or an Olympic women’s game can see they’re the same sport. Collegiately and internationally, women’s lacrosse is completely different than men’s lacrosse. Being able to harmonize the two as much as possible, but then as well keeping what’s unique to each gender’s side of the sport within that, is so important.”

World Lacrosse is looking to finalize the rules for play in 2020 so that teams can begin to train for the World Games in 2021 in Birmingham, Ala., when the sport will be included for just the second time by the International World Games Association. The U.S. women’s team won a modified 10v10 version in the 2017 World Games in Poland.

“We are moving in the right direction,” World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scherr said. “We’re doing the right things that would allow us the best opportunity to get into the Olympic Games. From this point forward, we need to accelerate our pace, because the competition (other team sports vying for inclusion in the Olympic program) is working hard and moving more quickly than they ever have. It’s an incredibly competitive process with huge benefits for the sports at stake. We know that. We’re going in the right direction and we need to keep moving in this direction, but move more quickly.”

Short Summary: 
World Lacrosse is forging forward with a new discipline of the sport as the key to its Olympic vision.
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Photographer Main Image: 
PHOTO BY SAM BRETTSCHNEIDER
Photographer Parallax: 
PHOTO BY SAM BRETTSCHNEIDER
Photo Main Caption: 
Team USA’s Kylie Ohlmiller tangles with Team Canada’s Erica Evans during an exhibition played under World Lacrosse’s Olympic trial rules Oct. 20 at US Lacrosse in Sparks, Md.
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Team USA’s Myles Jones scoops a ball near the sideline during the fourth quarter of an Oct. 20 exhibition against Team Canada, the goal and scoreboard both within view on the shortened 70-by-36-meter field.

Syracuse’s New No. 22

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Photographer Name: 
PHOTO BY GAVIN LIDDELL
Article Summary Title: 
Syracuse’s New No. 22
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/fuel/us-lacrosse/inside-the-november-2019-edition-of-us-lacrosse-magazine

Inside the November 2019 Edition of US Lacrosse Magazine

Syracuse’s No. 22 jersey has been linked to some of the best players in lacrosse history. After two seasons on the shelf, the Orange are bringing it back for Chase Scanlan.
Scanlan, who scored 43 goals as a second-team All-American midfielder at Loyola…

All In for One Love

Image: Article Summary Title: All In for One LovePath: /college/women/iwlca-one-love-collaborate-on-clinics-to-educate-empower-young-women

Inside Ryan Boyle’s Beautiful Mind and Hall of Fame Career

Nine lacrosse legends — Ryan Boyle, Charlie Coker, Kara Ariza Cooke, Rachael Becker DeCecco, Sarah Forbes, Cathy Reese, Paul Schimoler, Richard Speckmann and Matt Striebel will be inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame Oct. 19 at The Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley, Md. These are their stories.

Ryan Boyle sauntered to the line of scrimmage and saw an 11-man front ready to pounce. The play called for him to hand off the football off to an electrifying running back named Darnell Stewart. He knew it. They knew it.

Boyle audibled to a tight end post and fired a spiral deep down the middle for a completion.

He was 10.

“It sounds so archaic. It’s so obvious,” Boyle said, remembering 27 years later the lessons he learned playing Pop Warner football. “You just have to have the gumption to call the play.”

Boyle never lacked for nerve, that’s for sure. Combined with a rare intellect, his confidence produced one of the most brilliant lacrosse careers we’ve ever seen. Boyle was a four-time All-American at Princeton and five-time MLL All-Star, and he played in three world championships for the U.S. national team.

On Saturday, Boyle will be inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley, Md., just minutes from his childhood home. Matt Striebel, Boyle’s teammates at all three levels (college, pro and international), will share that stage, each as the other’s presenter.

“You hear people talk about Ryan’s game and compare him to Peyton Manning or Steve Nash because of how he plays the game, how he distributes, how he reads the defense, how he reads the offense or how he understands the game,” Striebel said. “But it doesn’t get at the depth of the impact that he has on really making guys around him better.”

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Category: 
Fuel
Author: 
Matt DaSilva
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Striebel learned that the hard way in 2001, when a highly touted freshman out of Baltimore’s Gilman School supplanted him as Princeton’s go-to attackman behind the goal. Striebel played soccer in the fall. He had heard of Boyle, but upon first glance at the 5-foot-11, 180-pound wunderkind that spring, he wondered what all the hype was about.

“I was like, ‘This is the guy? This is the guy that’s going to take my job away from me?’ He’s an unassuming person,” Striebel said. “And then you see him on the field. I had to go through jealousy and envy to get to respect and admiration with Ryan.”

Striebel and Boyle were like oil and water as attack line mates. Striebel often ran around without rhyme or reason, at least not that which Boyle could comprehend. After two games, Princeton coach Bill Tierney and offensive coordinator Dave Metzbower ended the experiment.

“Coach T and Coach Metz brought me into the office and say, ‘Hey Striebs, you’ve had a great run. We’re moving you to midfield,’” Striebel said.

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“He’s the proverbial Renaissance man.”
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Tierney famously called Boyle the smartest player in the game. That didn’t happen accidentally. It happened through osmosis.

Growing up in Cockeysville, Md., Boyle said, he had access to the sport’s best educators, “regardless if it was rec, club or my brother [Michael] in the backyard.” That only continued at Gilman with John Tucker and Princeton with Metzbower, transcendent offensive minds.

“I was learning what a rocker step was before there was even a term rocker step. Metz and I were experimenting with two-man games at goal line extended before the term razor pick was invented,” Boyle said. “I enjoyed the technical aspect, their passion for exploration, to dabble and do something different.”

Boyle continued with football through high school, twice earning Baltimore All-Metro honors and setting the league record for completion percentage. He gravitated toward the dark room where the offensive coordinator, also his middle school science teacher, would break down film with him.

There were rumors Boyle would play both sports at Princeton, but lacrosse was his true calling. As the No. 1 recruit in the country, he lived up to the billing, leading the Tigers to an NCAA championship as a freshman in 2001. Boyle assisted B.J. Prager’s game winner in overtime to beat Syracuse in the final.

Boyle went on to become a four-time All-American at Princeton. He was a Tewaaraton finalist as a senior in 2004, when he strapped the Tigers onto his shoulders and carried them to the final four. Princeton trailed Maryland by two goals with two minutes left in the NCAA quarterfinals. Boyle scored twice unassisted, including the equalizer with 12 seconds remaining, then set up Peter Trombino for the game-winning goal in overtime.

“Anyone who doubts the size of Ryan Boyle’s heart hasn’t been around him for four years,” Tierney said then.

Added Boyle: “The thought that this might be the end of my career never entered my mind.”

Boyle played on U.S. teams in 2002, 2006 and 2010, earned NLL and MLL Rookie of the Year honors and won four MLL titles with the Philadelphia Barrage and Boston Cannons.

That beautiful mind of his now imparts knowledge on fans as a college lacrosse and Premier Lacrosse League analyst for ESPN and NBC Sports, respectively, and on the next generation of stars with Trilogy Lacrosse, which he co-founded in 2005 with his former Gilman and Princeton teammate, Rob Lindsey.

“A huge part of why I’ve been able to enjoy any success within the sport is the culture I grew up in,” Boyle said, “both in my nuclear family and the community around me.”

Asked about Boyle’s ability to see plays develop and calmly orchestrate others in the most stressful of circumstances, if it’s innate or a byproduct of Boyle’s environment as he suggested, Streibel said it’s a little bit of both.

“I’ve met Ryan’s parents. I know that it’s nurtured,” Striebel said. “Yet I also have this image of Ryan being born into the hospital, organizing all the little babies into the appropriate way to break down a zone defense or run a 1-3-2, telling them they should go here for dinner if they’re in the East Village or that they should watch this if they have the time.”

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Boyle always has marched to the beat of his own drum. He treats the sport like his inner sanctum. When he’s not on air or being interviewed, he’ll talk lacrosse only with a select few. That group grew smaller when his uncle, renowned lacrosse official Scott Boyle, died on the field at Navy in 2005, and when Rob Lindsey Sr. died of lung cancer in 2007.

Even Striebel, who works for Trilogy and coaches at Northampton High School in Massachusetts, steers clear of the subject. His conversations with Boyle veer from their mutual admiration for the otherwise obscure Australian basketball player Aron Baynes to their varied tastes for music and food.

“He’s the proverbial Renaissance man,” Striebel said.

When Boyle moved off campus as a junior at Princeton, he lived with teammates Damien Davis and Matt Trevenen in a 3,000 square-foot, hollowed-out barn in which the kitchen overlooked the living room. They planned their days not around lacrosse, but food. Trevenen had taken cooking courses while studying abroad in Italy, and Boyle learned some elementary knife skills while working at a Princeton restaurant as a freshman.

“Since I’ve known Ryan, we’ve probably had two conversations about lacrosse,” Trevenen said when interviewed for an article for Lacrosse Magazine in 2006. “The cooking really bonded us.”

During a photo shoot for the article (“The Consummate Feeder,” December 2006), Boyle whipped up spicy ginger and garlic shrimp lettuce cups, a soba noodle dish and seared sushi-grade tuna.

“Some people have music; some people have painting,” Boyle said then. “This is my creative outlet.”

Boyle’s creativity in the kitchen belies his analytical approach to sports. Though he doesn’t necessarily see it that way.

“A lot of us enjoy what we’re good at,” he said. “It’s the feedback loop.”

And there’s that gumption.

In the 2010 world championship final in Manchester, England, U.S. head coach Mike Pressler had strict orders that players were not to call timeouts. But Boyle — who notoriously did not play in the gold medal game four years earlier, as the U.S. lost to Canada for the first time in nearly 30 years — did just that.

Less than four minutes remained, the U.S. led Canada by one, and a chaotic ground-ball sequence unfolded. Boyle emerged from the scrum with the ball in his stick and immediately called timeout. Pressler’s angry glare peered from underneath his sunglasses as Boyle jogged to the sideline.

After the timeout, the U.S. spread out its offense and played keep-away until Canada was forced to play chase. The U.S. drew a penalty, Canada emptied its net in a desperate attempt to get the ball back and Mike Leveille scored a man-up goal to ice a 12-10 victory.

The ball was in Boyle’s stick as time expired.

“Whichever team he’s on, by default he becomes the brains of that operation,” Striebel said. “When stuff is hitting the fan, you’re thinking, ‘What are we supposed to do now?’ and everyone is looking at each other, the first person you look at is Ryan. He’s never ruffled. He always has an answer. And he’s able to articulate it to a group of guys and say, ‘Hey, this is what we need to do right now. Follow me and let’s go.’”

Short Summary: 
Boyle’s rare intellect and gumption produced one of the most brilliant lacrosse careers we’ve ever seen.
Sub-Category: 
Photographer Main Image: 
PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER
Photographer Parallax: 
PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

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